PROVINCIAL NDP leadership candidate Adrian Dix toured the northwest last week to convince party members he is the man to defeat Christy Clark in the next election.
Jobs and the economy were main topics of conversation in Prince Rupert, Terrace and in Kitimat.
“You just have to walk down Prince Rupert to know that there are lots of empty storefronts . . . Clearly this community is in economic crisis and we’ve had a very large economic action plan form the federal government, and a very small one from the provincial government that is now stopping at a time when the economy here is getting worse,” said Dix while on a stop in Prince Rupert.
One of the ways Dix says he would improve the northern economy, if made premier, is to use tax policy to deter the shipping of unprocessed timber overseas. The idea being that companies would then have incentive to set up new value-added manufacturing operation in the north instead of shipping the raw materials to be processed elsewhere.
Dix also says he would also raise corporate taxes back to 2008 levels. The provincial Liberals have argued that raising taxes on corporations would discourage further investment in the province, but Dix doesn’t see it that way. He thinks funding social services can draw companies better than low taxes.
“BC is the best place on the west coast to invest. Why do you think that is? Healthcare. Were more competitive [than any of the US states along the west coast] because they don’t need to pay for health insurance, which is a big input cost. It’s not all about taxation,” says Dix.
Most of Dix’s policy positions do not vary all that much from those of competing leadership candidates, including his promise to abolish the HST, opposes the Enbridge pipeline and prosperity mine projects, and would do away with the Foundational Skills Assessment which is used by the Fraser Institute for its school rankings.
Dix does have some new positions not mentioned by other candidates such as the need for a poverty reduction plan and a new mining centre of excellence to encourage environmentally sound mining projects.
Dix believes that he can bring the NDP a simple, clear, and implementable policy platform, which is something that the party is lacking.
He said the party needs to firmly distinguish itself from the provincial Liberals to attract voters who might otherwise not have bothered to vote at all.
“You can’t score from centre ice, you need to set yourself apart from the Liberals with a clear implementable agenda. Then you’ve got everything you need to win, the government is discredited and people want to see an alternative.”